Can Black Mold Really Harm You?

By: Daniel K. Hoh
By: Daniel K. Hoh

None of us like to see mold growing in our homes. But besides its ugly appearance, mold may also affect your health.

Indoor mold can cause allergic symptoms such as runny nose, coughing, and wheezing. Black-colored mold is often believed to have the worst health effects.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there is no conclusive medical evidence that black mold is any worse than others.

Dr. Gul Sahetya is a local pulmonologist (lung doctor) in Bowling Green and sees many patients who complain about indoor mold making them sick.

"Mold can cause symptoms related to allergies, swelling of the lining of the nasal passages, and wheezing due to asthma-like symptoms."

She says people may be especially afraid of black mold because its dramatic color represents the exact opposite of cleanliness.

Richard Blink is a local private contractor for houses and a certified mold investigator. He says there are 10,000 species of molds and some can cause more severe symptoms beyond allergies.

"It can invade your body. It can disrupt your organs. It can kill you."

Both Dr. Sahetya and Blank say many mold species can appear black. While Blank's experience tells him some species are more harmful in general, Dr. Sahetya says it all depends on your specific sensitivity to different airborne particles like dust, pollen, and mold spores.

"Different people have different sensitivity towards molds," she says.

What make one person sick may not affect someone else. But regardless of the health effects, Blink recommends having mold removed from your home as soon as possible to prevent further structural damage.

The best thing to do is to call a mold investigator to evaluate the situation and make recommendations on how to eradicate it. Blink says the source of any mold is a problem with moisture that needs to be addressed first and foremost.

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